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Starting to see a difference

It’s always rewarding when you start to see the fruits of your labour. That doesn’t have to be purely financial, it certainly wasn’t just that for me. Granted I do earn more money than I did before, which is great, I’m not going to lie. But the biggest benefit has been to my non-working life. And not just to my life, but to those of my family and just as importantly to the lives of the consultant solicitors who have joined Cognitive.

It would be an unusual person, more like an automaton, who says that your working life doesn’t influence your personal life and vice versa. If you are unhappy, unfulfilled or undervalued at work, it is highly likely that you will take that feeling with you when you leave the building.

The whole ethos behind starting Cognitive was to reclaim some control over my working life, and to bring other solicitors along on the journey. Personally, I can not begin to say what a difference working flexibly has made to my life. Sometimes it’s the mundane things that make a difference, like being able to hang the washing on the line to dry whilst I am working at home. Other times it’s the big things like not having to worry taking time off when my daughter has been ill.

You may think that because I’m the MD, the rules don’t apply to me so I can do whatever I please, but that’s not true. I still have to earn a fee income, providing legal services to clients. On top of that I get to run the firm too, so it’s not a case of working less than I ever did, it’s a matter of working differently.

Not having prescribed working hours has freed me to work when best suits me, whether that’s morning, noon or night. Not having to be present in the office has allowed me to work where suits me best, and that has included working in coffee shops, in my car and in my mum’s house. That flexibility allows me to fit work in with my personal life as it suits me best. It means I can do the school drop off and pick up. I can go to the gym in the morning when I am brighter. I can pop to the supermarket. You get the gist. In short it has completely transformed how I run my life, without having a negative effect on my career.

A couple of weeks ago one of Cognitive’s consultants gave me a couple of bottles of wine. I had been teasing him that being given a box of wine from a vineyard where he delivered some training really ought to be shared. When I saw them on my chair I told him I had only been teasing, but in response he told me he wanted me to have them as a thank you, because the last 2 years he has been with Cognitive have been the happiest of his professional life. I nearly cried, knowing that the impact that Cognitive was having on someone else’s life was as positive as that which it has had on mine.

by Lucy Tarrant